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Reliving the Glory Days?

Without Sega's competing BLAST PROCESSING, it's just not the same.

If you were paying attention yesterday during Nintendo’s "Nintendo Direct" address, you might’ve noticed a common theme undercutting the entire broadcast. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest properties put on display: Yoshi’s Island 3, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, The Legend of Zelda (A Link to the Past 2), Earthbound, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, which saw a change in visuals/perspective that makes it even closer in style to its spiritual predecessor, Super Mario RPG . Maybe it’s just me, but this line-up is conjuring up some strong memories of the SNES.

To Nintendo’s credit, I think they did all of this with great subtlety, not drawing immediate attention to the fact that they’re reviving and exploring these properties (or that particular incarnation of these properties) from the SNES. If nothing more, it’s an interesting strategy to bring lapsed gamers back into their fold.

Yes, Nintendo totally announced this for the Wii U Virtual Console. I know, right!?

For many, Nintendo of the SNES era is the best incarnation of Nintendo, providing some of the strongest properties and the most impressive third party support in the company’s history. Assuming this strategy reaches beyond the confines of yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, I have to wonder - what do they have up their sleeve for E3 in a couple of months?

Perhaps the long-awaited return of F-Zero or StarFox? Maybe something in the vein of Super Metroid? Or perhaps a new console version of PilotWings? Heck, it could even be a continuation of a unique SNES Kirby property (please be Dream Course!).

It’s an exciting proposition that Nintendo might just be revisiting this great era in their history, but I hope they don’t lose sight of what made many of those games so great. These iterations need to not be too heavy-handed with the gimmicks or they’re sure to lose the support of the fans they’re trying to regain.

Yes, A Link to the Past 2 is now going to be a thing. Srsly.

More importantly, I have to wonder if this is part of a larger strategy for the company. Of course they want to draw back in fans with memorable properties, but how do they keep the ball rolling? I hope that in the wings they’re building up a catalog of new franchises that will define this generation in the company’s history. Retreading familiar ground is nice and will likely move some systems, but it’s not going to create or retain long term fans.

Here’s to hoping that Nintendo has companies like Retro Studios working on something fresh/new that will turn a few heads and build some steam for the currently flagging Wii U.

What do you guys think? Am I insane here? Is Nintendo really revisiting this lost era or is it sheer coincidence? Do you think we’ll see more SNES revivals at E3? Let me know in the comments below!




04/18/2013 at 11:05 AM

I was excited about the new Yoshi's Island and ALTTP untill I saw how they looked. I much prefer the original cartoony graphics. I'm glad they are bringing back some of the great games from that era to newer generations, but it's not gonna convince me to buy a 3DS. Why should I when I have the original carts?

Nick DiMola Director

04/18/2013 at 11:30 AM

I really don't like how Zelda looks right now. It could just be that the models shown off here are low detail for a prototype, but man, that really turned me off. It's almost as if Link is modeled after the classic NES-style artwork, which is kind of cool conceptually, but in practice is not all that appealing.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

04/18/2013 at 11:38 AM

I actually like it, because it matches what that particular incarnation of Link looked like (check out the manual - it's a pretty good rendering of that artwork). 

Nick DiMola Director

04/18/2013 at 11:44 AM

Yeah, that's what it looked like they were going for. I'm going to reserve judgment until I see the final renders, because I have a suspicion that they haven't fully detailed the world, characters, and environments yet. It looked protoype-ish, but I'm sure we'll see something that's further along in development at E3.


04/18/2013 at 11:48 AM

Well, It's probably way too early to say that. I just hope Nintendo takes care in how these games are handled.  ALTTP is much beloved by a great many people. I'd hate to see angry mobs descending upon Nintendo with torches and pitchforks lol. 


04/18/2013 at 11:21 AM

I think this era of gaming speaks to a lot of people.  I for one a excited and trepidatious at the same time.  Will they do justice to the new game based on them or just release updated versions?  But they need to excite a newer generation on these games as well.  Hard sell for the wiimote kids?

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

04/18/2013 at 11:27 AM

In regards to EarthBound, this brings up another question.  If EarthBound does well by VC standards, is Mother 3 a posibility?  What about an entirely new entry in the series?

Nick DiMola Director

04/18/2013 at 11:45 AM

I truly hope Mother 3 is a possibility - what a great game. I, of course, have my doubts, but it would be something that would be amazing on the 3DS Virtual Console.


04/18/2013 at 12:02 PM

I will most likely have to buy a 3ds by the end of the year.  I am excited for them all.  I got a ds just so that i could play yoshi's island ds.


04/18/2013 at 12:22 PM

If Nintendo is going to pull inspiration from its own history, the SNES era is the best choice. Well, unless all the third parties pull out new mascot platformers. That wouldn't be so good Tongue Out


04/18/2013 at 01:30 PM

I have no problem with Nintendo's games.  It's the damn gimmicks that ruin the games for me.  I hate the Wii-mote and all of it's attachments.  I just want a game that I can play with a traditional controller.  Or at the very least, give me the option to do so.  I've been putting off playing the Skyward Sword because not only do I have to use the Wii-mote, but I need a wii-mote plus or the attachment.  That's another cost I have to put up with on top of buying the game at $40, USED!  I just hope we can play these games without using a wii-mote, or stylus, or touching the screen, or taking pictures, or talking into a mic, or any other useless nonsense they come up with. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/18/2013 at 04:44 PM

It seems to me that Nintendo has been reliving their glory days for the past 13 years. Even their newer IPs, like the Wario Ware and New Super Mario series are trading on nostalgia. Ditto for Smash Bros, various remakes and re-releases.

Of course, it was this Nintendo Direct that pushed me towards buying a 3DS, so it's clearly working. But I'll continue to push for new and original games (hello, HarmoKnight) over the tried and true any day.


04/19/2013 at 02:29 AM

Nintendo's reliving of its glory days is obvious only because of how long the company has been in the gaming business. Every company does it nowadays. Microsoft is pretty much reduced to wash, rinse, and repeat on Halo, Gears, Fable, and Forza, aside from publishing a few outside companies' games on XBLA. Sony changes things up every generation - Naughty Dog did Crash on PS1, Jak on PS2, and Uncharted on PS3 - but I'm not sure that strategy has worked out very well for them commercially. And even EA largely banks on franchises that are now over 20 years old.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/19/2013 at 09:46 PM

There's a difference between sequelitis and trading in on nostalgia, though. What I'm talking about is I can almost hear Nintendo saying "hey, remember this?" as it nudges my elbow over and over. And that's not a bad thing at all, especially for a company with so many beloved characters. But we get Mario and Link and Samus so often that I'm ready for a new set of Nintendo characters to love and get excited for.

Cary Woodham

04/18/2013 at 07:19 PM

Since the SNES is my favorite game console, I don't mind if Nintendo dips into that for things.

Super Step Contributing Writer

04/18/2013 at 11:00 PM

I love the SNES, and at the same time, aside from DKC and Yoshi's Island, mostly missed out on these games when it was still in its heyday. But honestly, if anything, that excites me even more, as I get to see what I missed, potentially.


04/19/2013 at 11:34 AM

Love it.  No worries at all.

Justin Matkowski Staff Alumnus

04/19/2013 at 04:23 PM

I definitely think it is no coincidence that Nintendo is harkening back to the SNES with these new announcements. As you said, the SNES era is for many (myself included - it is my favorite console of all time) the strongest point in Nintendo's history, both from a quality and quantity standpoint of their games. I think Nintendo is trying to re-present themselves to the gaming audience, which means ironically, turning to their brightest era from yesteryear for inspiration.

The era of the Wii has come and gone, and I think Nintendo is realizing that they cannot rest on that console's laurels to carry them forward. Perhaps they are listening to the fans (thankfully!) who have grown up with Nintendo and that site the SNES as their fondest time as a gamer. If Nintendo is going to drive forward they will need the support of the gaming community and the people who truly love the medium, not the soccer moms whose Wii is currently collecting dust with no plans of making another investment.  This isn't a dig at Nintendo or the Wii's "blue ocean" strategy, it's just being honest. I for one, am excited to see what will come, and whole-heartedly support their soul-searching through nostalgia.

Not going to lie, I marked out for your Kirby's Dream Course sequel comment! I have been waiting for that for nearly 20 years!

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